Caesars, noting uptick in revenue, trumpets room renovations, esports push

An exterior view of Caesars Palace.

Caesars Entertainment Corp., a diversified casino-entertainment provider and U.S. casino-entertainment company, reported its second-quarter earnings Thursday.

Company: Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR)

Net Revenues: Revenues were $1 billion compared to $992 million for the same quarter in 2016.

Net Loss: The loss was $1.4 billion compared with a net loss of $2 billion in the same period last year.

Loss per share: $9.68 compared to a loss per share of $14.25 for the same period in 2016.

Our takeaway:

Caesars Entertainment CEO and President Mark Frissora said the company met expectations this quarter even though baccarat hold was much higher in the same quarter last year (skewing the comparison) and room renovations cut into revenue.

Frissora made the comments to gaming analysts during a conference call held Thursday to discuss the company’s second-quarter earnings results.

Room renovations have been a priority for Caesars because, Frissora said, it’s a low-risk, high-reward investment that has driven revenue for the company. In a presentation accompanying the call, the company stated it plans to renovate just over 6,000 rooms by the end of next year.

In addition, Frissora said, the company expects to fully emerge from bankruptcy reorganization in early October. After that, it will begin looking at mergers and acquisitions and also moving ahead with the construction of a 300,000-square-foot convention center behind the Linq.

During the call, Frissora also touted Caesars Entertainment offerings including headliners like The Who and Jennifer Lopez, as well as esports tournaments it has hosted in Las Vegas and Atlantic City. In addition, he said a recent change in the format of the World Series of Poker, which Caesars owns, helped drive the success of the event by allowing live television coverage throughout the tournament's main event.

Also in the second quarter, Caesars became involved in the production of entertainment after opening Caesars Entertainment Studios on land behind Bally’s Las Vegas. The 48,000-square-foot studio will house esports events, the current season of the television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire” and potentially other full-scale television and movie productions.

In response to an analyst question about how potential post-reorganization acquisitions might play out, CFO Eric Hession said the emphasis will be on areas where Caesars can successfully expand its Total Rewards customer loyalty program.

“We want to be in places where, from a financial perspective, we believe we’ll get significant increases in revenue due to the introduction of the Total Rewards card,” he said.

Frissora said the company is also exploring international opportunities for expansion in Canada, Brazil and Japan.